Last Updates to Olympic Mysteries from 2023

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to cover the last updates on Olympic mysteries from 2023. Before that, however, we should mention a final 2023 Olympic missing link: Victor Denis, born October 23, 1900, who represented Belgium in two editions of the Olympic rowing tournament. In 1924, he was eliminated in the round one repêchage of the coxed fours and was also a reserve with the eights, although he did not compete in that event. In 1928, however, he did take part in the eights, although he again exited after the round one repêchage. He had much better luck at the European Rowing Championships, taking bronze in the double sculls in 1920 and the coxed fours in 1924. A year of death of 1989 was added to his English Wikipedia page, but with no source.

(Pierre Clergerie)

Returning to the main topic, we first wanted to address two rowers with the French eights from the 1928 Amsterdam Games: Marius and Joseph Berthet. At the time that we last covered them, we did not even know how (or if) they were related, let alone any other biographical data. Thanks to research by Rob Gilmore, however, we now know that they were brothers: Joseph was born June 24, 1900 and died July 14, 1980, while Marius was born December 29, 1903 and died February 22, 1987. Gilmore also helped Connor Mah research another rower, Pierre Clergerie, who took part in the eights at the 1948 London Games. Clergerie was born April 1, 1919, but remains somewhat of an Olympic mystery as we do not know when (or even if) he died.

Turning to Japan, in an earlier post we mentioned three Japanese wrestlers who took part in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics about whom we knew nothing: Yoshio Kono, Eitaro Suzuki, and Shuichi Yoshida. Now, thanks to Gilmore and Mah, we know that Suzuki was born on April 20, 1899 and died in May 1979. Yoshida and Kono, meanwhile, were born c. 1906 and c. 1909 respectively, although we still do not have exact dates.

(Alfons Oswald)

Finally, there are two individuals that we discussed more recently about whom we have more information. First we have Svatopluk Skýva, who represented Czechoslovakia in sabre fencing as both an individual and with the team at the 1948 London Olympics. In both events, he was eliminated in the quarter-finals. He was a national sabre champion, a professor at the Prague Conservatory, a theatre producer, and an author, but now thanks to Mah and Gilmore we know that he was born January 13, 1910 and died in December 1979. Secondly, Alfons Oswald, who represented Switzerland in the Firefly sailing class at the London Games and placed 10th, was born May 4, 1914, giving us a date of birth that we were lacking previously.